By Peter Clover
This story originally appeared in the May/June 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.
Mention Barcelona and the colors start whirring. Chic, outré design hotels, palm-feathered boulevards, shady squares, glinting cafe chairs, haute couture and the faded beauty of Barceloneta. Sensational restaurants, trendy bars and a cumin-colored beach. No wonder the fashionistas descend here in droves. Barcelona works its way through your veins like a sunkissed wave, warming you to the pace of its Latin passion. It’s an arty, real-feel cosmopolitan city, best savored in precious moments rather than tight tourist schedules. All you need to chill in true Catalan style is an appetite for exquisite food, an appreciation of quirky things, a great set of shades and the ability to wander aimlessly while looking cool and absolutely fabulous.
Don’t just visit the city. Feel it. Breathe it. Get down with the mood at El Paraigua (elparaigua.com). Set in the Barri Gótic with a slick vintage exterior, it’s not just a music bar. The real attraction is the cocktail club rocking downstairs in the vaulted wine cellar. Weekend jazz bands set the place jumping with regular concerts in this acoustically note perfect setting.
The Sutton Club (thesuttonclub.com) is the hottest uber-chic VIP hangout for the alpha elite, stylishly groomed party goers of Barcelona. Fashionably fabulous.
Palau de la Música Catalana (palaumusica.cat) is one of the finest concert halls in the world, a breathtaking Unesco World Heritage Site showcasing classical solo performances, staged operas and symphony orchestras. Enjoy a truly exquisite VIP experience, an evening’s entertainment that is sheer class.
Undoubtedly, the best views across Barcelona come from Mirablau (mirablaubcn.com), Mount Tibidabo. Sip cocktails and watch the sun rise or set over the romantic city skyline and the Med.
In the mood for a bit of retail therapy? Passeig de Gràcia is Barcelona’s most famous designer street for luxury shopping. Check out all the big brand names — Prada, Stella McCartney, Valentino and Louis Vuitton, plus Barcelona’s oldest design house, Santa Eulalia.